OK, so Hinson Lake 24-Hour is this Saturday.
This is my fourth try there. The previous three have been, well, laughable. Here's how each has gone: Go out fast. Blow to teeny bits. Barely make it to 2 a.m. Stumble back to the vehicle. Drive home with tail tucked firmly between legs.
So how about No. 4? I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that No. 4 is gonna go differently. Call it a hunch, but I think I may have come to a reality at Hinson last year – I really really REALLY do not like puking. At all. Which is what I typically do at Hinson. Because, even after 105 ultra finishes and another 44 at the marathon, I pretty much suck at the event nutrition thing. Been practicing it with fervor all summer and think I may have some semblance of an answer ... NutriFit drink from Food Lion. Think scaled-down Ensure Plus. NutriFit is 250 calories. When I drink half of a bottle every hour, good things seem to happen. Haven't tried it beyond 5.5 hours, so that will be uncharted territory. Truth is that I'll probably change my mind and be after real food by then anyway, so no sweat.
Training has been off-the-hook good this year, yet that seems to have very little bearing on my performance. When I was faster, it mattered a lot. Now? Not so much.
I am in full-on pro taper mode. Most recent 2-hr. runwalk was Friday. Will likely do one Tuesday a.m. just to help with sleep. Legs have now officially moved past that achy start-of-taper feeling and on to oh-wow-strong feeling. Forecast changes daily, but is hovering around 80/50. Not optimal, but also not 91F like last year.
So here's the rough plan: Go slowly after the first lap or two, eat, drink and take what the day gives. Steady as she goes. Leave a bunch for night, especially at Hinson with as dark as it gets on the Back Nine. This is, after all, the site of the famous Fred "Doom" Dummar quote: "The party don't start till the lights go out."
OK, so my goals. Primary Goal: Do the whole 24 hours. Reach Goal ("reach" based on how poorly I've done at 5 of the 6 24-hour formats I've tried so far): 24-hour format PR of 60 laps for 91.20 miles. Dream Goal: 66 laps for 100 miles.
Word of the Day Saturday and Sunday: Joy. I get the chance to run a long, long way with friends and snacks and dirt and peace and somebody else keeping track of the distance.
Count me lucky.